AJ McKee, the brightest emerging star of combat sports, has decided to stay in Bellator MMA. Last Tuesday, Bellator announced that the American fighter had signed a multi-year deal with the promotion.
This California native recently appeared on the MMA Hour show, where he discussed his decision to resign.
— AJ “The Mercenary” McKee (@ajmckee101) January 11, 2023
Mercenary stated that he made the decision because he wanted to compete for a million dollars in the 155-pound division, but McKee also added that prior to signing with his homegrown promotion, he spoke with several of the biggest promotions, including the UFC, ONE, PFL, and Rizin.
“There’s another million dollars at stake. There’s another million dollars the 155-pound division and I’ve been kind of getting my feet wet in it a little bit. So, they came with an offer that I just couldn’t refuse. I kind of was given the opportunity to go and talk a little bit and see.”
The current No. 3 ranked pound-for-pound Bellator fighter considers that the decision is perfectly aligned with his future vision, as he considers that the UFC might earn him huge fame, but Bellator will pay him a bigger check, which he thinks is more important.
“I think just strategically, it makes sense if I say. I’m homegrown with Bellator, I’ve been raised there, my entire career has been there. So, I’m not going to go anywhere unless I have to, you know what I mean? It’s no secret that writing bigger checks than the UFC, so it’s like, what’s the point? For the fame? Fame don’t pay bills.”
🚨 𝗟𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁𝘄𝗲𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 𝗪𝗼𝗿𝗹𝗱 𝗚𝗿𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗣𝗿𝗶𝘅 🚨
Introducing the competitors for our next $1,000,000 World Grand Prix. What a stacked line-up!
Who ya' got? 👇 pic.twitter.com/jitqL20DYc
— Bellator MMA (@BellatorMMA) January 11, 2023
McKee last appeared at the Rizin 40 fighting against Roberto de Souza on December 31, 2022, in Saitama, Japan, and won the three-round clash. McKee only lost to the current Bellator featherweight champion, Patricio Pitbull, out of his 21 Bellator appearances which resulted in a failure to defend his featherweight title.